The line on Brisbane map that’s been an election drama for decades

The Liberal National Party is hosing down Labor claims it wants to build a freeway through Brisbane’s northern suburbs.

Oct 20, 2020, updated Oct 20, 2020

Successive governments and councils have maintained the North West Transport Corridor, which runs roughly from Alderley to Aspley, with work currently being done on one off-shoot at Everton Park to bypass a busy intersection. At the last state election, candidates in the seat of Everton, while debating intersection upgrades, agreed on the need to resolve the fate of the corridor.

Considered a future urban thoroughfare since the 1960s, the corridor was preserved in the early 1980s in expectation that it would one day become a four-lane, median-divided road to help share the traffic burden of the northern suburbs.

Various planning studies followed, including, in 2009, the then Labor government’s broader Western Brisbane Transport Network Strategy that suggested the corridor form part of an integrated road and high-frequency public transport connection.

Taking up where that strategy left off, the Brisbane City Council obtained federal funding to develop a business plan for the broader northwest. Initial public consultation elicited more than 3400 responses to an online survey and poll, and found what council described as “overwhelming support for better public and active transport as well as road improvements”.

“We are progressing stage two of the North West Transport Network business case development, which will focus on identifying potential transport network solutions,” a council spokeswoman told InQueensland.

“Community consultation on these solutions will start in late 2020.”

State Labor MP for Aspley Bart Mellish has long warned of secret LNP plans for a four-lane freeway along the corridor. Labor also campaigned on the issue at the recent council elections, with a petition and leaflets warning of a “multi-billion dollar mega toll road”.

It is unclear how Labor would use the corridor, if at all, however as recently as 2018 state transport officials suggested a “multi-modal rail, road and active transport route” might be best. That would require further planning and consultation, however, with development not likely before 2031 (or at least two election campaigns away).

Whoever forms government after October 31 will likely inherit a council proposal to develop the corridor, requiring state support, however the LNP is at pains to say no decisions have been made and Labor is just “scaremongering”.

“There is no Federal Government funding or State Government funding for the corridor and there are no plans to progress it either,” said LNP deputy leader and Everton MP Tim Mander.

“The LNP won’t support a project that doesn’t have the support of the community.”

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